When I informed my friends about going to America for a holiday, I received so many non-enthusiastic responses: “Why America?” “ I would not go there…”” It is a crazy country!” “Personally I don’t like the USA”, “Could not you find something better?” etc.
I have been thinking about it a lot in the last couple of weeks. If somebody asked me 3 weeks ago: would you like to have holiday in America, I would instantly answered “Of course, not”. Chris brought me up here. It was his choice of a holiday destination.
Now I want to put a few thoughts together about this event…
One thing I learnt long time ago: it is easy to dislike something you don’t know.
What did I know about China before I went there? Our TV always showed documentaries about grey poor people deprived of all human rights and longing for Western democracy. I went there – and everything I knew happened to be prejudice and bull shit: there were grey people as well colourful, there were poor people as well as very rich and many people in between, there were human rights as well as inequality, and most people did not give a damn about the West because for them China is still a centre of the Universe (and it seems, it is going to be this way soon).
I fell in love with China as soon as I learnt about real people and real life there: not perfect, not evil – just normal life as everywhere else on this planet.
What do we know about America apart from its government and its aggressive and bias international policies?
Those who speak English well enough to understand President Bush laugh at him.
Of course, we know Hollywood with its fantasy blah-blah. Some of it is good, some of it is trash, but it is not life – it is a form of art which should not be confused with reality.
Hollywood affects our perception a lot and spoils a lot!
We all saw ads of Las Vegas, which is also a fake city with very distant relation to reality but somehow it reflects on our perception of Americans in general.
I am trying to stretch my memory to recall everything I have learnt about America from various sources: pocket size romance books, American literature, art, - what does it have to do with reality?
How Theodore Dreiser defines modern USA? He is just as irrelevant to modern times as Dostoevsky to modern Russians…
Of course, during my lifetime there were accidental meetings with Americans which also left some impressions (and I am sure many people had similar experiences).
Who does not remember stories about: “the mountains which are taller in America, fields are bigger, trees and buildings are taller, sky is bluer than anywhere else”? Did not you feel annoyed by those stories and wished to tell them: go back to your wonderful country where everything is the best? I did.
All this American boasting does not really help to like them. On the other hand: it seems that they are right till certain degree and everything seems to be bigger here: it is an American obsession to have everything big. Well, they have room for big things in this spacious country. Does it make them bad?
Well, it is enough thinking for one day. There will be more impressions to absorb and more thoughts to think.